Monday, May 31, 2010

Israeli Couscous Salad

This is a great dish for potlucks and BBQs. It’s light and full of flavor. I found that people who don’t typically like couscous still love this dish. The couscous is more like little pasta balls than the traditional grainy couscous.

Couscous salad
2 cups Israeli couscous (buy from the Kosher or International section of the grocery store)
About 6 mini red & yellow bell peppers, diced
1/3 of a Chinese cucumber, diced
2-3 stalks of green onion stalks (3 whole bundles), diced
¼ cup of Kalamata olives, diced
1 package of crumbled feta cheese (I used one seasoned with garlic and lemon)
Zest of one lemon

¼ cup of EVOO
1 Tbsp of Balsamic vinegar
1 tsp of Grey Poupon mustard
1 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of salt
Juice from ½ a lemon
Handful of minced Italian flat leaf parsley and cilantro
Pepper to taste

Make couscous accordingly to directions on box. Once done, let cool.

Mix ingredients for vinaigrette together and whisk well.

Add chopped veggies, olives, feta cheese and lemon zest to couscous. Mix all together. Add vinaigrette and mix throughout salad. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Grilled Salmon and Pesto Fettuccine w Peppers and Artichokes

2 servings

2 salmon filets
William Sonoma’s seafood seasoning
4 mini bell peppers (orange and red), sliced in rings
2-3 canned artichoke hearts, quartered
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pesto sauce
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat grill for salmon.

Cook fettuccine, following directions on box. Grill salmon until it’s cooked all the way through (about 10-13 minutes). Poke with a fork. If it flakes easily, it's done. Don't over cook. You want it a little pink in the middle.

Heat EVOO in a skillet. Sauté peppers in pan until soft. Add garlic and artichokes towards the end, sauté for 1-2 more minutes.

Drain pasta, mix with pesto sauce.

Plate salmon with fettuccine, top with peppers and artichokes. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Steak with Dirty Mediterranean Rice

This is an easy recipe that was super tasty! Perfect for a summer dinner. I always put Ben in charge of the grilling and I take care of the chopping and the stove top. Ben also came up with the name of the rice!

2 servings

2 New York steaks
Steak seasoning (Mrs. Dash and salt)
½ cup of basmati rice
1 cup of water
1 zucchini, chopped
¼ small red onion, diced
½ small jar of marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
About 10 kalamata olives, chopped
1 tsp of EVOO

Heat grill. Cook rice in pot or rice cooker.

Grill steaks to likeness.

Heat EVOO in a skillet. Sauté zucchini and onion for a few minutes until onion is translucent. Add salt to taste.

Once rice is done add artichoke hearts and olives, and sautéed zucchini and onions.

Once steak if finished grilling, plate with rice.

Note: Use the “touch test” to cook your steak. Touch the middle of your steak with your finger, if it’s soft like your cheek, it’s medium rare; if it’s more firm like the tip of your nose, it’s medium; if it’s hard like your forehead, it’s well done.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Italian-Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Spinach

I found this awesome recipe in this month’s issue of Food & Wine and modified it slightly. It has introduced me to cooking with meat from sausage links. It’s so quick and easy to do. The meat is already seasoned, and from my experience so far, stays really moist (if you don’t overcook it, of course).

2 Servings

½ bag of pre-washed baby spinach
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 hot & spicy Italian sausage links, remove from casings
Monterey Jack cheese
2 Tbsp of mayo
1 tsp of pesto
1 Tbsp of chopped sun-dried tomato
A few rings of red onion
2 ciabatta rolls
Slices of salted cucumbers
EVOO (If you don’t know what this is, I’m not going to tell you. Your welcome, Rachel.)

Heat grill for burgers.

Using wet hands, make patties out of sausage. Brush both sides of patties with EVOO. Grill patties over medium heat, about 5 minutes on each side. After flipping burger, top with cheese. Add buns to grill to toast.

Heat EVOO in skillet, add spinach. Sauté until almost wilted, then add garlic. Sauté for a few minutes until garlic is translucent. Set aside.

Mix mayo, pesto and sun-dried tomato. Spread pesto on rolls, when they are done toasting. Top burgers with spinach and red onions. Serve with cucumber slices.

Note: If you want more garlic flavor, add garlic at the end of cooking the spinach, like I did. If you want less garlic flavor, sauté the garlic first and then sauté spinach.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Couscous

3 servings

3 green bell peppers
2 Chicken Southwestern Sausage links (1 lb total) from Henry’s (the sausages are made with chicken, peppers, garlic and onion)
1 box of East Pearled Couscous (basil & herb)
2-4 red & orange mini bell peppers - chopped
2 oz goat cheese – pull chunks apart with your fingers

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tops of peppers, so you have a little “cup” to fill. Remove sausage from castings. Using wet hands, fill peppers with sausage. Don’t stuff too tight or it won’t cook.

Put stuffed peppers in a shallow casserole dish, cover with aluminum foil and cook for approx. 40 minutes or until center of sausage is no longer pink.

Make couscous using directions on box. Once cooked, let cool. Toss with chopped orange & red peppers and goat cheese chunks.

Plate couscous first, making a ring on the plate. Place stuffed bell pepper in the middle.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Shrimp with Broccoli Pesto and Alfredo Pasta

2 Servings (with left overs)

I first made this Double Broccoli Quinoa recipe ( the night before, so I had broccoli pesto left over and decided to use the left overs this way. The recipe below includes the whole amount for the Double Broccoli Quinoa recipe, but I only used half the pesto for the recipe below.

5 cups raw broccoli, cut into small florets and stems
3 medium garlic cloves
2/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 big pinches salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup heavy cream
Alfredo sauce packet
1 cup of milk
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Fresh cracked pepper - to taste

Steam broccoli by putting broccoli in a shallow bowl with ½ inch of water, cover with Saran wrap and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Uncover and drain excess water.

To make the broccoli pesto puree two cups of the cooked broccoli, the garlic, 1/2 cup of the almonds, Parmesan, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and cream and pulse until smooth.

Make Alfredo sauce according to package (cup of milk and cheese powder). Add broccoli pesto puree to Alfredo sauce and mix together.

Cook pasta according to directions. I used Ditalini and/or Farfalle.

Heat butter and garlic in a hot frying pan. Sauté shrimp for 3 minutes. No longer, otherwise this will make them rubbery.

Drain pasta and mix with broccoli pesto and Alfredo combo sauce. Top with shrimp, parmesan and pepper.